Transurethral Resection Of The Prostate
Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a surgery to remove part of the prostate gland.
The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system. It makes and stores a milky fluid that forms part of semen. The prostate is below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It also wraps around a tube called the urethra. The urethra allows urine to flow out of the body.
Reasons for Procedure
A TURP is done to relieve blockage of urine flow from the prostate. It is done to improve the flow of urine. When a man has an enlarged, noncancerous prostate, this is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In BPH, the prostate grows and presses against the urethra and bladder. The pressure can cause problems with the normal flow of urine.
A TURP may also be done when a man has prostate cancer. It may be done if the doctor thinks that a complete prostate removal surgery is too risky. In this case, TURP is also done to relieve urine blockage and lessen symptoms. It is not done to treat the cancer itself.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
- Urinary tract infection—most common complication
- Bleeding, which may require blood transfusion
- Urinary incontinence
- Retrograde ejaculation
- TURP or TUR syndrome—rare, but may occur within 24 hours after the procedure
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may do the following:
- Physical exam
- Review of medications and supplements
- Blood tests, urine tests, and a urine culture
- Ultrasound —a test that uses sound waves to visualize the kidney, bladder, and/or prostate
- Urine flow studies
Leading up to your procedure:
- Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.
- The night before, eat a light dinner. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Description of Procedure
A special scope that looks like a thin tube with a light on the end will be used. The scope will be passed through the hole at the tip of the penis where urine comes out and passes into the bladder. The bladder will then be filled with a solution. The solution will let the doctor see the inside of your body better.
The prostate gland is examined through the scope. A small surgical tool will be inserted through the scope. This tool will be used to remove a part of the enlarged prostate.
A catheter will be placed in the bladder. Urine will flow out the catheter to give the area time to heal. Your catheter may also be used to flush the bladder and to remove blood clots.
Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)
Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Average Hospital Stay
An overnight stay is typically planned for a TURP. In some cases, the stay can be up to 2 days.
At the Hospital
You will be taken to the recovery room where your breathing, pulse, and heart rate will be monitored. You will be given pain medication.
- There will be a catheter in your bladder to drain urine. The catheter may be left in place overnight or longer. Water may be flushed through the catheter into your bladder to wash out blood and clots.
- The catheter drainage bag will be kept below the level of your bladder.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
- Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
Call Your Doctor
It is important for you to monitor your recovery after you leave the hospital. Alert your doctor to any problems right away. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
- Difficulty or inability to urinate
- Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or persistent blood in the urine that persists more than a few days
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Pain that you cannot control with the medications you have been given
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Impotence for longer than 3 months after surgery
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Men's Health Centre
The Prostate Centre at The Princess Margaret
BPH: Medical management (benign prostatic hyperplasia/enlarged prostate. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=1. Accessed August 31, 2015.
Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116944/Benign-prostatic-hyperplasia-BPH. Updated July 28, 2016. Accessed October 10, 2016.
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Tan A, Liao C, Mo Z, Cao Y. Meta-analysis of holmium laser enucleation versus transurethral resection of the prostate for symptomatic prostatic obstruction. Br J Surg. 2007 Oct;94(10):1201-8.
Wendt-Nordahl G, Bucher B, Hacker A, Knoll T, Alken P, Michel MS. Improvement in mortality and morbidity in transurethral resection of the prostate over 17 years in a single center. J Endourol. 2007 Sep;21(9):1081-7.
Last reviewed September 2015 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.